By Denise Dick
The biggest part of cuts to address Youngstown State University’s $6.6 million deficit comes from a freeze in discretionary spending.
It’s supposed to save about $2.9 million, according to a plan the university released Thursday.
“Three consecutive years of enrollment declines, combined with consistent reductions in state operating appropriations, has resulted in a significant structural budget deficit that requires us to immediately implement cost savings measures,” YSU President Randy J. Dunn said.
“These measures, while extensive, will allow us to balance our budget without impacting academic and student services.”
YSU has lost $16 million in revenue due to decreased enrollment and state allocations over the past two fiscal years. This fiscal year, tuition/enrollment revenue and state funding are down an additional $4.2 million.
“We have reached a critical crossroads,” Dunn said in a news release. “These actions, developed through an extensive, six-week contingency planning process, are necessary to balance the fiscal year 2014 budget and to begin to address the structural challenges we have in the university’s revenue-and-spending model.”
Another $1.4 million in savings is to come from operating-budget reductions across campus, ranging from office supplies and printing to postage and maintenance costs.
A reduction in technology expenditures by deferring or delaying infrastructure updates is expected to save $750,000. Personnel reductions, including the layoffs of five full-time and four part-time non-faculty employees will save $663,000.
Ron Cole, university spokesman, declined to say from which departments the employees would be laid off.
“We’re in the process of going through the wording that’s spelled out to identify and notify the bargaining units and the individuals,” he said.
That’s being done in the next few days.
Employees across campus will be asked to voluntarily take nonpaid furlough days or to voluntarily give up vacation days to save $230,000; and $150,000 will be saved through decreased energy use across campus, including a possible power-down over holiday week in December.
YSU also hopes to generate about $315,000 through spring enrollment.
Although there’s usually a dip between fall and spring semester, Cole said the university is hoping for less of a change than what’s generally seen. Another $300,000 in additional revenue expected from campus auxiliaries — departments such as housing, the campus bookstore and Kilcawley Center that generate their own revenue — which will contribute a larger percentage of their revenue to the general fund.
Dunn said the reduction plan was developed to have a minimal impact on academic programs, student services and personnel. He said layoffs in the plan are unfortunate and difficult but needed to reduce expenses and maintain the fiscal health of YSU.
“We are a human capital enterprise and human resources are the most important ones we have,” he said. “I understand the personal financial difficulties that are felt by employees impacted by these actions.”
Dunn also said that, despite the fiscal challenges, YSU remains a vibrant and progressive educational institution.
“Students — the reason we are all here — will feel very little, if any, impact whatsoever by these actions,” he said.
“YSU will continue to provide the high quality educational services that are so vital to our students’ success.”